Tuesday, September 29, 2009
The States Parties of the International Criminal Court (ICC) will likely vote in 2010 on whether to amend the Rome Statute to allow the ICC to prosecute the crime of aggression. If a robust amendment is widely ratified by states, and if the mechanism for triggering ICC jurisdiction in a particular situation is the ICC itself, then the ICC may emerge as an important voice in the debate over the legality of humanitarian intervention taken without Security Council authorization. Prosecutions, or at least indictments, of leaders of those interventions would considerably strengthen the hand of those who regard such intervention as illegal. Yet an unwillingness on the part of the ICC to indict and prosecute those leaders - an outcome that seems likely for incidents of true humanitarian intervention - may lend considerable credence to the view that such intervention is lawful, as well as define the conditions that characterize such intervention.